Plan approved to speed Muni on 19th Avenue

Often slow and stuck in traffic on 19th Avenue, Muni’s 28-19th Avenue route will soon get some much-needed improvements.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors approved plans to improve transit reliability and pedestrian safety of the 19th Avenue portion of the 28-19th Avenue bus route between Junipero Serra and Lincoln Way.

The changes including removing eight bus stops on the 28 local service, which currently stops at almost every block, said Sean Kennedy, Muni Forward program manager at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Kennedy, who is overseeing the transit agency’s program to overhaul the Muni system, said consolidating bus stops on the local route will help improve the route’s reliability. The on-time performance of the 28 local service is around 55 percent — below the entire system’s average of 65 percent, he said.

The rapid service will also see a reduction in bus stops, but will still make stops at major destinations and transfer points like on Judah Street, Quintara Street, Taraval Street, Winston
Drive and Holloway Avenue.

The 28R currently only runs between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Kennedy said the transit agency is looking to run the rapid service all day, but he gave no time frame on when that service would start.

Traffic conditions on 19th Avenue, also known as Highway 1, do not favor local or rapid service. The roadway is maintained by Caltrans and has 70,000 cars day driving through each day, said Kennedy.

Though traffic conditions may not change, the transit agency is preparing to launch transit signal priority for the buses on 19th Avenue in the next few months. Kennedy said the transit agency has already upgraded traffic signals with the system, but that buses are still being outfitted.

Transit signal priority will give buses an edge so that the green traffic light will hold for approaching buses.

In the plan approved Tuesday, the transit agency will move five bus stops from the near side to far side in order to fully take advantage of transit signal priority, said Kennedy.

The 19th Avenue plan also includes establishing pedestrian bulbs at most intersections. Kennedy said the corridor had 400 collisions in the last five years with 54 of those collisions involving pedestrians. Six of those 54 were fatalities, Kennedy said:

“Pedestrian safety is one of our top conditions that we wanted to address with this project.”

The total cost of the project is $23 million, according to the transit agency. Funds for the project come via The City’s general obligation bond and Proposition K local sales tax funds.

Kennedy said staff is preparing the detailed designs of the project and plans to start construction in Fall 2016 through the Spring 2018 before repaving work by Caltrans begins in the summer of 2018.